Background and Objectives. Comprehensive guidelines for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatments of disorders of consciousness (DoCs) in pediatric patients have not yet been released. We aim to summarize available evidence for DoCs with >14 days duration, to support the future development of guidelines for children aged 6 months to 18 years.
Methods. This scoping review was reported based on PRISMA-ScR guidelines. A systematic search identified records from 4 databases: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science. Abstracts received 3-blind reviews. Corresponding full-text articles rated as “in-scope” and reporting data not published in any other retained article (i.e., no double reporting) were identified and assigned to 5 thematic evaluating teams. Full-text articles were reviewed using a double-blind standardized form. Level of evidence was graded, and summative statements were generated.
Results. On November 9, 2022, 2167 documents had been identified; 132 articles were retained, of which 33 (25%) were published over the last 5 years. Overall, 2161 individuals met the inclusion criteria; female patients were 527 of 1554 (33.9%) cases included, whose sex was identifiable. Of 132 articles, 57 (43.2%) were single case reports, and only 5 (3.8%) clinical trials; the level of evidence was prevalently low (80/132; 60.6%). Most studies included neurobehavioral measures (84/127; 66.1%), and neuroimaging (81/127; 63.8%); 59 (46.5%) were mainly related to diagnosis, 56 (44.1%) to prognosis, and 44 (34.6%) to treatment. Most frequently used neurobehavioral tools included the Coma Recovery Scale-Revised, Coma/Near Coma Scale, Level of Cognitive Functioning Assessment Scale and Post-Acute Level of Consciousness scale. Electroencephalography, event related potentials, structural computerized tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging were the most frequently used instrumental techniques. In 29/53 (54.7%) cases DoC improvement was observed, which was associated to treatment with amantadine.
Discussion. The literature on pediatric DoCs is mainly observational, and clinical details are either inconsistently presented or absent. Conclusions drawn from many studies convey insubstantial evidence, and have limited validity, and low potential for translation in clinical practice. Despite these limitations, our work summarizes the extant literature and constitutes a base for future guidelines related to diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of pediatric DoCs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


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